Gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptor expression in the human prostate

Prostate. 2001 Jun 1;47(4):276-84. doi: 10.1002/pros.1072.


Background: Inhibitory effects of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogs on prostate cancer cell proliferation, both in vivo and in vitro, indicate the presence of specific binding sites for GnRH on prostate cancer cells. To investigate this issue further, we examined the expression of GnRH receptor (GnRH-R) mRNA and protein in human prostate biopsies as well as in other extrapituitary tissues.

Methods: The relative quantity of GnRH-R mRNA was determined by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and immunohistochemistry (IHC) in human prostate biopsies. Extrapituitary GnRH-R levels were determined by a semiquantitative PCR reaction.

Results: Using PCR, a relatively high expression level of GnRH-R mRNA was found in prostate tumor tissue followed by normal prostate, thymus, and kidney expression levels. The levels showed by heart, brain, placenta, lung, liver, skeletal muscle, pancreas, colon, ovary, small intestine, spleen, and testis were low but detectable, whereas peripheral blood leukocyte showed no demonstrable product. GnRH-R immunoreactivity was localized in both luminal and basal epithelial cells in benign and malignant prostate tissue, and GnRH-R were also observed in intraprostatic lymphocytes. The relative GnRH-R mRNA levels in prostate biopsies from 16 patients showed a wide range of individual differences, but these differences were not related to histological grade. Castration therapy did not significantly influence GnRH-R mRNA expression in normal and malignant prostate tissue.

Conclusions: These results suggest that epithelial cells and infiltrating lymphocytes are targets for GnRH action in the human prostate. Comparative data show relatively high GnRH-R expression in human prostate tissue compared to other human tissues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Orchiectomy
  • Prostate / metabolism
  • Prostate / physiology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptors, LHRH / biosynthesis*
  • Receptors, LHRH / genetics
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, LHRH